Norman, Oklahoma-based BRONCHO (pronounced Bron-CHo) has somehow remained under the radar for the last 5 years. They rattle off an infectious self-described brand of Garage-Pop that taps into the punkier-side of 80’s New Wave. They’ve toured with high profile alt-rock luminaries along the way, but have struggled to settle on a cohesive sound. Band leader and singer/guitarist Ryan Lindsey’s nervous chatterbox wordplay complements their fuzzy, lo-fi delivery resulting in an undeniable retro feel that’s hard to pin-point. Think of the variable collection of devastatingly-ironic bands that were played ceaselessly by independent college radio stations in the late 80’s that first ushered indie rock in as a commercially viable sensation: Violent Femmes, The Replacements, Pixies, and Dinosaur Jr.
There’s also a punk rock edge, a barely-detectable yet omnipresent nod to hardcore punks more contemplatively emotive, midwest cousin championed by Sunny Day Real Estate and The Promise Ring. These archetypal indie rock tropes blend together along with a witty band name stylized in all-caps for a seemingly contagious recipe–or so you’d think. If there’s been a constant in BRONCHO’s sound thus far, it’s this penchant for fusing together the elements of their idols. Despite a rich pallet of influences, their music remains relatively under the radar–each of their records have shown them moving in a new direction, inching them closer to more wide-spread recognition.
BRONCHO first hit the airwaves in 2011 with self-recorded Can’t Get Passed the Lips, displaying their raw, punk-rock energy along with Lindsey’s angst ridden sneer. This ultimately lead to a short-lived recording deal with Fairfax Recordings, who re-released the record in 2013.
Their second album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman came in 2014 via Dine Alone Records, which also saw the band on the cusp of commercial breakthrough. The album was perceived positively by the press, marking a noticeable departure from their first record by incorporating vintage synths into their mix, resulting in a no-less-unpolished, yet overtly poppy feel. The track “It’s On” landed a slot on HBO’s Girls and the album’s lead single, “Class Historian,” became a minor indie hit. The latter has an uncanny resemblance to “Dancing with Myself“, and coincidentally the band was invited to go on tour with the New Wave veteran Billy Idol himself, keeping the group busy throughout 2015.
Their latest release, Double Vanity, was released earlier this month and sees the band heading in another off-kilter direction, this time in an infatuation with the proto-shoegaze of The Jesus and Mary Chain. I mean, just check out this video for “Fantasy Boys“, which looks like it was broadcast on MTV and then recorded via VCR onto a VHS tape. Cool as the final package might be to some (including me), directionally, Double Vantity’s an interesting artistic move. Maybe they legitimately thought an ode to Psycho Candy was going to broaden their fan base. More likely, they’re just having fun creating music they like; maybe they’re not looking for success at all and want to maintain their cult status. Rather, they’re in it for the shrill of entertainment and the admiration they get from their loyal fans, just like the indie bands that brought them here in the first place.
The band is currently on tour with Cage the Elephant and will look to further supplant themselves as Indie’s most underrated band. Double Vanity is fully streamable through the bands soundcloud page and it’s definitely worth a listen.